Friday, April 27, 2012

FRIDAY MORNING RAMBLE: Anzac Week edition

It’s Friday. It’s the ramble. You know the drill.
But first, the quote for the week.

No concept man forms is valid unless he integrates it without
contradiction into the total sum of his knowledge.
- Ayn Rand

Think about it. Now, on with the show…

The Murdoch-bashing of the smart set who believes he ‘controls Britain’ has crossed the line from rational inquiry into David Icke/Ian Wishart territory. As Tim Abrahams observes, "Murdoch is only as powerful as politicians have allowed him to be."
Is Murdoch really a lizard in a suit? – Brendan O’Neill,  S P I K E D

Despite the journalistic buzz about Murdoch in the dock, the Leveson Inquiry is the enemy of a free press not its saviour, a show trial which found the tabloids guilty long before it started.
Is the Leveson Inquiry becoming an attack on the fundamental freedom of the press? 
– Mick Hume,  C I T Y   A . M .

The NZ Herald is to become a tabloid. Isn’t it already?
NZ Herald downsizing to tabloid? – N B R

The new campaign to force cigarettes into plain packets is driven by an old and ugly Prohibitionist zeal. And despite anti-smoking activists’ claims, a fancy fag packet does not turn us into 20-a-day nicotine fiends…
Monkey see, monkey smoke? – Patrick Basham,
Old moralism in new packaging – Chris Snowdon,
Plain packaging is a free speech issue – H A N D S  O F F   O U R   P A C K S  ( U K )

“I’m hearing increasing talk about managing the economy…”
The government illusion -  Matt Nolan,  T H E   V I S I B L E   H A N D

John Banks won his seat with the help of a small band of committed youngsters. Now he tells them to go to hell, their response should be…
Freedom, Choice and John Banks – C A C T U S  K A T E

The problem with student loans isn't the interest. It's the principal.
- David Burge

David Farrar blogs on Labour’s leadership and lack of ideas then claims “This is the problem you get when Labour doesn’t know what it stands for.” The National Party blogger fails to see the irony.
The unfortunate experiment -  K I W I B L O G

For the irony deficient like David, here’s one observation out of many that could be made, this one by Berend: “Interest free student loans, no raising pension age, but scrapping of military bands will bring the savings!”
Scrapping military bands 'a national scandal' – N Z   H E R A L D

“Among the Labour Party’s objections to increasing GST from 12.5% to 15% was that GST is, in their view, regressive…I shall be interested then to see their views on the Ministry of Health’s notion to increase the tax on tobacco to the point that cigarettes cost $100 per packet.”
Our unsung regressive tax Apr – N Z  C L A S S I C A L  L I B E R A L

Some people call them Pull Peddlers. Ayn Rand called them The Aristocracy of Pull. I just call them scum, and they infest the corridors of Parliament buying and selling favours. Secretly.
Name the lobbyists, Lockwood. – Duncan Garner, T V 3    B L O G

It’s not art, but it is cool; a “sculpture” showing all the boards that can be cut from one log :

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The United Nations—home of Food for Oil, the IPCC and Helen Clark—is going to build a machine of 4.5 billion people "in which resources are infinitely reusable and there is no adverse byproducts. Oh, and which refutes the Second Law of Thermodynamics.
Isn’t it amazing what “sustainability” can do?
UN to Spend Trillions Trying to Create a Perpetual Motion Machine 
– Dale Halling,  S T A T E   O F   IN N O V A T I O N

image’Allo, ’Allo! Cowardly broadcasters are blacklisting TV classics like It Ain’t Half Hot Mum for fear of causing offence.
Will it be au revoir to ’Allo, ’Allo? -  S P I K E D

Why don’t the rich get richer and the poor poorer? The answer, dear reader, is “churn.” 
Do the Rich Really Get Richer and the Poor Get Poorer?
-  Burton Folsom, B U R T   F O L S O M . C O M

Android vs iPhone: The Battle to the Death? Well, maybe not.
Android vs iPhone: The Battle to the Death! (Or Not) – V O D K A   P U N D I T

Are these the world’s two perfectly-matched towns?
 Scottish village of Dull seeks ties with Boring -  I N Q U I R E R

"Government-funded medical science is becoming increasingly corrupt. And this may corrupt medical practice."
Why Science Whistleblowers Are Ignored – Paul Hsieh, We Stand FIRM

“There is some satisfaction to be had in no longer having to identify Nancy Pelosi as US House Speaker. I never liked seeing her wield that gavel. Someone once remarked that a hammer in hand causes one to search for nails to pound in, and she was always searching for nails. She specialized in coffins."
A Renewed Assault on Freedom of Speech – Edward Cline,  R U L E   O F   R E A S O N

"See the Florentines argue for their freedom!”
Guest Post by Florentine signory from 1340 – Darius Cooper,  P R A C T I C E  G O O D  T H E O R Y

And still, after all these years, “there is still no convincing evidence that mobile phones can adversely affect human health.” There is abundant evidence however that believing every scare story you hear will.
 ‘No evidence’ of mobile phone cancer risk – I N D E P E N D E N T  ( U K )

Q: Do businessmen suppress innovations?

Britain’s Royal Society reckons you should stop spending, Africans should stop breeding, and we all should be grateful for their racist paternalism. “Vile, reactionary arguments disguised as science” reckons Claire Fox.
World needs to stabilise population and cut consumption, says  Club of Rome  Royal Society 
– J U NK   S C I E N C E

Hasn’t it been fun watching “the dwindling band of climate alarmists distance themselves from Gaia hypothesist James Lovelock, now he’s admitted he and his fellow alarmists over-egged the pudding on global warming.
Lovelock hemlock to climate alarmists – Miranda Devine,  T E L E G R A P H

No, the Islamist threat to the west hasn’t disappeared. You’ve just got better at ignoring it.
Fifty U.S. Terror Plots Foiled Since 9/11 -  H E R I T A G E   B L O G

Who’s Alex Epstein, what is his Center for Industrial Progress, and why did he “occupy” Occupy Wall Street?
Interview with Alex Epstein, Founder of Center for Industrial Progress – O B J E C T I V E   S T A N D A R D

Yes, Sweden is still overtaxed and over-regulated. But unlike most other places in the world, the direction is the right one—and the results are plain.
Sweden and the Recession – W H A L E   O I L

Pity the poor professional asset manager in these times, in needing to navigate not just irrational markets but to cater to clients hungry for performance and intolerant of the bad kind.
Party On – Tim Price,  D A I L Y   C A P I T A L I S T

A UK game show (featuring a strangely desiccated Jasper Carrot) uses the famous Prisoner’s Dilemma to provide a gripping finish. Here’s what usually happens:

And here’s how one smart fellow solved the dilemma:

The Keynesian theory of stimulus is elegant, eloquently argued, and widely held. It’s also complete bollocks.
Does Stimulus Grow the Private Economy? – Megan McArlde

The central bankers are finally realising “gold is quietly becoming a core banking asset for collateral purposes, at a time when the alternative, sovereign obligations, are becoming dangerously unstable as a bedrock of value.”
A plea for sanity -  C O B D E N  C E N T R E

Economic debunker Steve Keen, who famously called the crash, reckons, "Ultimately the Euro has to fail and the longer we continue the farce of believing we can make it function the larger the ultimate crash will be."
Steve Keen On Europe's Delusion And Why The Entire World Is Turning Japanese -  Z E R O   H E D G E

Keen makes one serious error however.  He says “when the crisis hits, European governments will be forced into imposing austerity on countries that desperately need a stimulus.” But with all due respect, Mr. Keen, isn’t this the same thing as saying that, “when the delirium tremens hits, the medic will be forced into imposing sobriety on a patient who desperately needs a fifth of vodka?”
Open Letter To Steve Keen, Who Says Stimulus Is Necessary -  Keith Weiner,  D A I L Y   CA P I T A L I S T

What he and his colleagues are looking for, and are all at sea without, are the insights of Jean Baptiste Say: “What he needs, as does everyone, is an understanding of where demand at the aggregate level comes from.” And where it comes from was first outlined by Monsieur Say 193 years ago.
John Taylor may I introduce you to J.B. Say – Steven Kates,  C A T A L L A X Y  F I L E S

Giving money and power to government is like giving
whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.
– P.J. O'Rourke

It’s still all Greek to the poor central bankers. “The current annual rate of contraction (-19%) of the Greek money supply guarantees many more eruptions from that Balkan nation.”
Greece Is Imploding -  Steve Hanke, C A T O   @  L I B E R T Y

“Q: Why do Japanese investors keep buying their own public sector debt, which is racing to 250% of GDP by 2015, twice the level that got Greece in trouble? A: Part of the explanation is what we call financial repression, where the government puts pressure on domestic institutional investors, frequently through regulations. But much of the explanation is likely deflation, which creates acceptable real return to bonds, that are not taxed. The eventual JGB crisis must await 2015 or later…”
One reason why Japan allows deflation – Tyler Cowen,  M A R G I N A L  R E V O L U T I O N

“Here is a puzzle for Keynesian and other neo-classical economists.
    When a consumer buys something, he must choose; and if he increases his purchase of one product, he must reduce his purchases of other products by the same amount. In other words he cannot buy both. This must be true for whole communities as well. How then can you have [the economic growth supposedly measured by GDP]?
It is of course impossible without monetary inflation….
Understanding these dynamics is central to a proper understanding of our economic condition…”
The paradox of choice – Alasdair MacLeod,  C O B D E N  C E N T R E

Where does paper money come from? In two words: from debt. 
Money As Debt – Tyler Durden,  Z E R O   H E D G E

Q: Would school vouchers improve education?

imageWhy do Montessorians use the word "work" instead of "play” for what children do?"
"Work" in a Montessori environment – Ana Amiguet, M A R A  M O N T E S S O R I . C O M

We need a more robust definition of autism, otherwise we risk it losing all sense as a diagnosis.
Is autism just another identity? – Sandy Starr,  S P I K E D

You might think designing a kitchen is all about aesthetics, ergonomics and craftsmanship. But you’d be wrong. It’s more about your happiness.
Psychology of the Kitchen -  Johnny Grey, G R E Y   M A T T E R S

Don’t eat this. Ban that. John Stossel reckons the Food Nazis should go to hell. “I don't suggest that we ignore the experts and eat like pigs. But the scientific question should not overshadow the more fundamental issue. Who should decide what you can eat: you? Or the state? …The moral issue of force versus persuasion applies even if all the progressives' ideas about nutrition are correct.”
Stossel on the Food Police – G U S  V A N   H O R N

The government sucks - but it sucks less than governments
that don't allow you to say 'the government sucks.'

- Penn Jillette

Fact: People who hate beer must also hate civilisation itself.
How Beer Created the World -  Eric Crampton,  O F F S E T T I N G   B E H A V I O U R

imageIn 450BC, noted toga-wearer Sophocles philosophised that the best diet for the Greeks was bread, meats, various vegetables and beer  (the last of which they called Zythos).Good enough reason then for Epic brewer Luke Nicholas to launched his latest hoptastic creation…
NEW BEER: Epic Zythos IPA – Neil Miller,  E P I C   B L O G
Epic Zythos – Joel McFarlane,  B R E W   N A T I O N

“You can count on my support.”
“It wasn’t my fault.”
“You’re next in line for a promotion.”
Really?
12 Ways To Spot A Liar At Work – Carol Kinsey Goman,  F O R B E S

Lasse Hallström’s film of Salmon Fishing in the Yemen serves up an appealingly fishy main with a side of political satire…
Audience charming in the Yemen – S P I K E D

How do you get big stuff done? SF author Neal Stephenson has some answers.

What does the universe look like? Go ahead, take a look.
Astronomy Picture of the Day: March 12, 2012 – N A S A

Lawyer Dog is the hot new dog meme. He didn't go to law school but he still passed his state bark exam with flying colors. Keep him in mind next time you need beagle representation.”

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Cheers, and thanks for reading
Peter Cresswell

PS: Hat tips and thank yous to Thrutch, Geek Press, Noodle Food, Junk Science, Ayn Rand Revolution , Cathie George, Kiwiwit, Claire Fox, Berend de Boer, Karl Sharro, Spiked Online, “Maria Montessori

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